Made in Indiana – Tomlinson Tap Room

Walking out of our first meeting, it was clear that “MADE IN INDIANA” would be the underlying campaign in honoring not just Indiana beers, but also honoring a narrative on Indiana craft, community space, and creativity.  There is often an enormous commitment in suggesting an All-Hoosier design experience in an Historic Public Market,  especially these days, as many Black Friday shoppers waited in long lines to purchase NOT MADE IN INDIANA products. Framed under these conditions, I wanted to answer a question that is on everyone’s mind:

“Can a Hoosier themed Craft Beer Bar save the City Market?”

I say no…but wait!


Festival Marketplace Syndrome

Prior to any real design work, it was important that I referenced Erik Ledbetter’s short article called: Rethinking Adaptive Reuse, or, How Not to Save a Great Urban Terminal. In the web article he describes the downfall of Woollen, Molzan and Partners Festival Marketplace at the Historic Indianapolis Union Station and suggests several factors that play into how not to save an historic urban structure.

Ledbetter explained, “Station shopping malls and festival marketplaces do best when the station is also still a station.”

What Ledbetter is saying, is that in most cases it is helpful to develop big ideas that help the public market retain its function as – a public market. Suggesting then, that anything else may invite the Market to be something it is not (like a fast food market). The leadership at our Indianapolis City Market has done a wonderful job as of late setting the tone for a creative and  responsible strategy that supports the City Market’s original purpose

Tomlinson is far more than a bar. It is a bar at our Public Market.  I’m entertained by its history, scale, movement, depth, an detail. The buildings weight and age emotionally scale the space so its digestible.  With only conversation and people around you, I can see how Tomlinson Tap Room will be a welcomed partner in promoting ideas of gathering,  politics, story telling, and community.

This idea of building a community around craft beer, was spearheaded by community table Operations Czar, Vicki Higuera, who confidently described the “communal table” as the physical objects that would act as the “mojo”  for where people would gather, meet, or exchange. They were to be an extension of the main bar and would need to carry the same potential of inviting strangers to toast or celebrate, like a community.

The pine beams and boards for the communal tables and cooler wall were located in Southeast, Indiana. A small local  business that recently found a niche with demolition and reclamation of materials from demolished factories or buildings. When I arrived there, a crew of workers were stacking pallets of full sized bricks that came from an demolished early 1900’s building.  The pallets of bricks (#’s in the X,000’s), were on their way to a New Orleans housing development for re-installation. I was shocked.

w/purpose teamed with artists and fabricators  Nick Allman and  Centerline Studio. We hand selected six (3″ x 9.5″ x 21′) pine beams that were in so many words – thick & solid.  It was an awesome find. I knew immediately that we had located the right stock. It had original stain and soot from 1913 Muncie Steel & Wire Factory.  Their 3″ depth was necessary to not suggest, but impose a nudge as an invitation.  Their 8′-0″ length were what we all wanted in tables to represent appropriate extensions from the bar.  Steel I-beam columns, rod details, and straps help accentuate the bars identity and character.

Graphic and communication newcomers, CODO Design Group promoted their “Hands-on Branding” process which produced a powerful and appropriate brand that played a significant part in the tables concept design.  With no bar photo, rendering, or  finish swatches available, the communal tables were left to reference only the existing architecture and identity package.  Tomlinson’s stamped type face, color, placement and details all move well with the overall composition of the space.

So you see…the Tomlinson Tap Room is an overwhelming yes. I will go on record saying that it will be a success as a viable social space that goes to the heart of  Urban Design in Indianapolis. It alone, will not save the City Market. Do you know what will?

If we all bought 1 growler for someone this Holiday.  The result of keeping it real…in a very public space.

Happy Holidays



Infrastructure + Chihuahua

Indianapolis based urban design firm w/purpose & Guatemala based Architect Rafael Yee Melgar have been invited to Isthmus Norte School of Architecture and Design to offer several intense design seminars and public lecture. Principal, Wil Marquez will visit Chihuahua, Mexico with Yee Melgar in December and will include a field study at University of Texas at Austin – School of Architecture.


Rafael Yee Melgar, received his Masters in Architecture with Distinction from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is a recipient of the Fulbright scholarship and has received multiple academic prizes. Professionally, his experience lies in both public and private clients and includes international projects with Eric van Egeraat with Associated Architects in Budapest.Yee Melgar’s experience in academia includes:

The University Rafael Landívar (Guatemala), University Francisco Marroquín (Guatemala), School of Isthmus Architecture (Panama) and “visiting scholar” professor at the University of Michigan.


Marquez and Yee Melgar met as colleagues at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Planning and continued to have successful and shared similar experiences in both academic and urban environments.

Isthmus Norte is a university that focuses on creating pluralistic and tolerant atmospheres. They are an institution that promises an open dialog and debate between architects and designers. They encourage humanist principles that promote respect and defense of our environments against the energy crisis that affects our planet.

Taller Abstract:

In a recent November article in The Chronicle of Education, James Proctor, Director of the Environmental-Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College, questioned what a more “cosmopolitan sustainability movement might look like?” I quickly considered my own firms efforts, of late, with local advocacy groups, public markets, and development corporations about the renewed interest in our cities interdependence along cultural, political, economic, ecological, or social lines – all key elements that Proctor categorized under the “rubric of cosmopolitanism”.

Movements, such as these, often demand we shift our thinking about how we retool our environments to deliver notions of regeneration to communities for the 21st Century. We seem to be in a climate where neighborhoods and citizens are growing increasingly less interested in the idea of one dimensional planning that has become the default for planning and development departments. This includes predictable program models, tired community surveys, shelved master plans, and uninspired development frameworks that leave little consideration for the interdependence or success of solving complex growth issues. Disenchanted, communities are organizing under new forms of urban design typologies, fixed on equipping cities with re-imagined landscapes and vision plans based on infrastructure, identity, ecology, arts, advocacy and people. These new modes of infrastructure can easily be characterized by their overlap of program functions, along with cultural and corresponding uses that benefit not just the local, but an expanded network of autonomously functioning neighborhoods, retail zones, and suburbs.

These conversations are being introduced and implemented through programmatic elements such as energy installations, public pavilions, gateways, multi-model stations, playgrounds, sculpture gardens, cultural trails, pocket parks, and hybrid type public facilities that challenge the formal structure of the city, connect us, or bring communities together. These public infrastructure scenarios are popping up everywhere and being discovered daily at interchanges, bridges, production clusters, retail, and transit nodes.

This effort on place making has grown out a type of local activism that insists on denying formal boundaries, diversifying programmatic frameworks, and discovering hybrids and shared cultural opportunities that enhance notions of place, identity, and their future. It is in many ways it is a scaled “stimulant” towards what will be the eventual integration of contemporary landscape and architecture.

In all cases these elements invite activities once left to formal or permanent institutions to reorganize under new modes of urban place making that take on more temporary, seasonal, or transitional structures. They will take on a very different form and function than those of fifty years ago. What I believe we can all agree on is that wind-powered generators, green roofs, and organic gardens alone, will not solve the plethora of issues surrounding cities and neighborhoods in the emerging twenty-first century.

In Chihuahua our studio will investigate the potential of qualifying transitional and leftover non-spaces, as new broad minded public designs. We will consider notions of materiality (light, glass, waste, projection, earth, metal, etc.) and movement. We will interrogate these multi-scaled “in-between” spaces to determine the transformative nature and meaning of infrastructure, while reinforcing the awareness and identity of the city and its users.

GRAD MAGAZINE // Don’t grow up – grow creative!


Grad Magazine: November 2010

The great—and scary—thing about graduating from college is that you never know where life is going to take you. GRAD interviewed three Indiana professionals about their lives and career paths—and asked for their words of advice for new college grads.

Creative Voice: Wil D Marquez

Growing up in his hometown of Portage, Indiana, Wil Marquez practiced his design skills by building forts from lake-effect snows that blew in off of Lake Michigan.

After graduating from Valparaiso High School in 1996, Marquez earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Michigan. Marquez has ventured much further. In addition to working for firms in Minneapolis and Indianapolis, he’s designed for clients in Abu Dhabi and Indianapolis, and traveled to destinations as diverse as Italy, Morocco and Argentina.

But he recently struck out on his own, founding his own firm, w/purpose, a creative urban design studio that expresses his own curiosity about neighborhoods, buildings, streetscapes, and urban spaces.

Marquez located the firm in his mid-century home on the near east side of Indianapolis-an ode to the modern architecture that was taking off in the 1950s.  It’s a neighborhood of vintage architectural gems that Marquez is proud to be part of, even if it is a bit edgy. Once in decline, the neighborhood is coming back thanks to devotee; of mid-century modern who are snapping up homes for as little as $80,000.

Marquez Home: 1956 A-Frame - First Devington Neighborhood, Indianapolis (Photo

“These homes were built with good design, good construction, good craftsmanship, and materials.” Marquez says. “In 30 minutes I can bike to a trail that takes me Downtown to [Indianapolis].

His business card has the usual information-name, phone number, email address-but it pops with an orange figure of a man kicking.

Kicking what?

“I want to kick down old models on how we think about urban space and how to get people to those places.” Marquez says. “We need to retool ourselves and our infrastructure.”

Architecture is a tough gig, given a sluggish economy, but Marquez is concentrating on winning projects that will set a new tone for Indianapolis. He’s currently at work on elements of a redesigned Indianapolis City Market in the heart of the city.

Advice: “Be brave. Be confident. Have some guts. And don’t grow up, grow creative.

Omar Munante - Uruguay - Con Proposito (w/purpose) in South America

Installation by w/purpose for Indianapolis City Market

Marketplace - Marrakesh Morocco // Photo by Wil Marquez

Grad: Real Life Indiana | November 2010 |

Gibson Case Study Home

Inspired by its location, the Gibson Home was my first modern residence.  The home was for Adam and Cathy Gibson. Their need to explore a larger home seemed timely with growing children and Adam’s home business growing.

An empty lot near in the Forest Hills Neighborhood, near Broadripple, offered an opportunity for a home to frame a series of trees beyond, while securing a relationship to the street. More importantly, was the reclaimed stone that our client rescued to be the catalyst for a home they wanted for their future.

The design took advantage of the sites length. The elevation reveals three view corridors at varying depths, with their rooms and personal spaces anchoring the back and the most public in the front.  It’s multiple levels meet at a center core that organizes how one moves through the space and programs are divided.

Standard Life – FORMCities Symposium

w/purpose will be presenting at the FORMCities Symposium on the Future of Mid-sized Cities
Date and Time: Fri, Nov 5, 9:00 am
This symposium is an opportunity to generate creative ideas/images that reconcile urban landscapes that redefine “wrong side of the tracks” and produce an urban form with its emphasis on the assets of diversity. The keynote speaker is architect and Virginia Tech professor Susan Piedmont-Palladino.
Focused on how infrastructure plays a role in a forgotten rail easement in Indianapolis Devington Community, Authors Jason John, Wil Marquez, and Josh Taron have teamed to introduce a strategy that integrates public input data and programmed recreational space.  They believe this research helps in creating a variable urban amenity, while generating an Infrastructure for a healthy community.
Team: Jason Johnson, University of Calgary – Laboratory for Integrative Design + Wil Marquez, Indianapolis – Principal, w/purpose + Josh Taron, University of Calgary – Laboratory for Integrative Design will be presenting (re) Connect: Devington.
Abstract: This paper focuses on strategies and proposals for developing an infrastructural project along an abandoned and underutilized and forgotten rail easement in Indianapolis’ Devington community. These strategies acknowledge the desire of residents and community groups to create public amenities, improved public transportation access and recreational space as integral to continued revitalization of the community. Strategies of accumulation of variably sized and highly distributed programmatic areas along vehicular, transit, cycling and pedestrian trajectories are produced using parametric software techniques.




Indianapolis Rotary Gateway Competition

In 2006, the Indianapolis Rotary Club invited teams to submit for a 2-stage competition in Indianapolis that featured Electrolands, Cameron Mcnall and Ninebark Eric Fulford. Designer. Wil Marquez was invited to join the team for his digital design expertise and creative problem solving. The submission called for navigating the city through a series of layered multiple landmarks, boulevards, and light. Entrance and passage are accentuated to redefine the promise of an urban landscape that has become cluttered and un-welcoming. That passage begins at the perimeter of downtown, where we are first introduced to the City along the inner loop of the freeway and river, punctuated by portals that are linked to the heart of downtown, Monument Circle. Each portal was to share three essential components. Principal,

City Tower feat. Northstar and Portal Entry: Rendering by Electroland

First, a system of color-coded CITY TOWERS and environmental color fields encircles the inner loop of the freeway, announcing each portal destination, making a powerful statement about arrival.

Second, the transition from freeway to city street marks the PORTAL ENTRY, where the transition to pedestrian filled streets is balanced with traffic modified by engineered calming measures.

Finally, each significant road engaged with the PORTAL becomes a grand driving experience, a BOULEVARD, introducing us to the diverse neighborhood Districts that compose Indianapolis. In this broad, layered manner we provide a template for a comprehensive approach that clarifies the existing city structure and offers a cohesive, collective identity of place.

My work with Eric Fulford at his home studio in 2006 was amazing. I remember sitting outside his studio discussing the layout and evaluating the terrain. This project was a large suggestion for a gateway. Its suggestion and energy was in the right place.  As a team, I felt that our confidence in offering something unique and visually explosive was timely.

Here is how we described the NORTH STAR

The North Star has guided explorers, wanderers and seekers throughout history. It gave confidence to those who took risks across the unknown to seek a future in a new place. Just as the North Star anchored the Dipping Gourd that guided escaping slaves along the Underground Railroad, the North Star anchors the Canal Promenade. Providing a neighborhood landmark that orients and connects you to this place. This large sculptural cone, clad in woven stainless steel mesh and studded with thousands of small LED lights, symbolically speaks about people coming together from distant places to focus their energy in a collaboration to build a new future for themselves and this community.

NORTH STAR installation along canal // Renderings by Wil Marquez

NORTH STAR // Rendering by Wil Marquez

Urban DOME Shade Structure


PUP_What We Do. from People For Urban Progress on Vimeo.


w/purpose welcomed a partnership with local urban advocates, People for Urban Progress for this year’s Parking Day. Sponsored by Architecture for Humanity Indianapolis, this event, included a meaningful way to activate a downtown street, transform a neighborhood park, and promote responsible material re-purposing. We were particularly interested in participating this year because of AFH’s effort to pair the event with a community improvement project in Reagan Park, which is located in Martindale Brightwood near downtown Indianapolis

The People for Urban Progress will gift the shade structure made from the former roof material of the RCA Dome to the Reagan Park community.  We anticipate that this will be the first of several shade structures and pavilions that will begin to populate several of our city’s parks, ensuring that the public can continue to benefit from this incredible resource. In order to design and implement these structures, collaborating with local designer and urban place-maker Wil D. Marquez of w/purpose seemed timely.  We are thrilled that through AFH and Parking Day, the RCA Dome will have new life and bring new life to the Reagan Park community.

The design of the shades structures considered a visual and performance based urban product. The shade structure was designed with movement in mind. Swiveling and adjusting at several points enable it to adjust easily for seasonal solar angle changes and variation in form. It is the first in a series of RCA Dome structures that will be deployed to local parks as visual way-finders, lighting devices, and unique urban infrastructure.


Michael Bricker (PUP) & Wil Marquez (w/purpose)
w/purpose design concept diagram